One week on since our official launch and we’ve been overwhelmed by your response to the site. It’s great to see a large number of you wanting to get involved with the discussion relating to HTML 5 and asking about what you can and can’t do as well as the pro’s and cons of the specification.
In this post we’re going to cover a few of the questions we’ve received that don’t require a full post answer but still need to be addressed. We’ll post more answers everytime we’ve collated a bunch of questions so don’t be afraid to ask, however groundbreaking or insignificant it might be. Ok here we go for starters…
Andy Mabbett wrote to ask:
Are there (or will there be) any automated or semi-automated tools which will take my (valid) HTML 4.01 Strict documents and convert them to HTML5?
While we don’t know about any specific conversion tools for converting to HTML 5 from HTML 4.01. There are several articles (see below) describing how you can name your classes more semantically in preparation for using HTML 5.
- More on developing naming conventions, Microformats and HTML5
- Preparing for HTML5 with Semantic Class Names
- HTML5 id/class name cheatsheet
A final point on this is that I’m not sure that it would be wise to have a converter in order to move from HTML 4.01 to HTML 5, a machine however clever will not really be able to understand the true meaning of
<figure> for example. I’d be interested to hear other peoples thoughts on this though?
When should I start using HTML 5?
James asked us (presumably a little tongue in cheek):
When will I know that it is time to start using HTML5 “for real”? Will there be an announcement?
Now I’d love there to be an official annoucement, in fact I might just announce it now! You can all start using HTML 5 today. There I said it, I feel so much better now. Seriously though, there is no reason for you not to start using HTML 5 now in sites you’re developing. I’m not saying that you have to use it religiously, but at you should at least start thinking about it in your development roadmaps. We can see on our sister site that there are a number of sites using HTML 5 “in the wild”. The amount of implementation varies greatly (some including
<div>‘s around their
<header> elements for styling purposes for example) but they have begun to incorporate HTML 5 right now.
Implementation trumps specification
which I happen to firmly believe, after all CSS 2.1 isn’t a formal specification yet but almost everyone is using it. If you’re not sure where to start then I suggest taking a look at what browser implementations are currently like, which is where this Wiki from the WHATWG comes in. Hope that answers your question James.
How do I markup the main body of a page, are there <content> tags? Can I serve a SWF Flash file using <VIDEO> tags?
There isn’t a
<content> tag (element), the most appropriate element for that would be
<section>, however if only a single article is contained in that area you should use
As for the second part to your question, you *can’t* use a SWF file natively as the source to the
<video> tag, or FLV file for that matter. However, for the foreseeable future you’re still going to need to embed flash for video, via nesting the flash within the
First you’ll use the
<video> with nested source elements to fall through the different supported codecs. Then when all else fails, particularly for IE, you’ll serve up the flash video via the
<embed> combo. This is because IE8 and lower doesn’t support the
<video> you’re going to need to fall back on something that works.
Although not really a question I wanted to drop this in, August wrote to tell us:
<aside>article is awesome. Great explanation of a very semantic HTML5 element. More of those, please!
Thanks for the great feedback August, we’re happy to help, rest assured we’ve got plenty of articles lined up along those lines, in fact I know we’ve got a few crackers lined up for the next couple of weeks, so watch this space.
If your question hasn’t been answered in this post or we haven’t got back to you directly then it’s more than likely that we’ll be covering it soon in a more detailed post so be sure to check back or subscribe to the RSS feed for all future articles.